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Ten Senators Send Letter on Downing Street Minutes to Senate Intelligence Committee

Larisa Alexandrovna - Raw Story Staff

Senator Kerry (D - MA) sends letter to Senate Intelligence Committee pressing for answers on the Downing Street Memo and other Downing documents. The letter leaked to Raw Story, is also signed by Senators Johnson, Corzine, Reed, Lautenberg, Boxer, Kennedy, Harkin, Bingaman, and Durbin. The text of the letter is below.
June 22, 2005
The Honorable Pat Roberts, Chairman
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman
United States Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller:

We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received.

Last year your committee completed the first phase of a two-phased effort to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Phase I-begun in the summer of 2003 and completed in the summer of 2004-examined the performance of the American intelligence community in the collection and analysis of intelligence prior to the war, including an examination of the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the intelligence on ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorist groups. At the conclusion of Phase I, your committee issued an unclassified report that made an important contribution to the American public's understanding of the issues involved.

In February 2004-well over a year ago-the committee agreed to expand the scope of inquiry to include a second phase which would examine the use of intelligence by policy makers, the comparison of pre-war assessments and post-war findings, the activities of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.

The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address.

The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable."

The minutes reveal that President "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously-warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation.

These issues need to be addressed with urgency. This remains a dangerous world, with American forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges looming in Iran and North Korea. In this environment, the American public should have the highest confidence that policy makers are using intelligence objectively-never manipulating it to justify war, but always to protect the United States. The contents of the Downing Street Memo undermine this faith and only rigorous Congressional oversight can determine the truth.

We urge the committee to complete the second phase of its investigation with the maximum speed and transparency possible, producing, as it did at the end of Phase I, a comprehensive, unclassified report from which the American people can benefit directly.


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Cowardly Democrats? You sound like you get your news from GOP propagandists, Fox's Hannity, O'liely and the druggie Limbaugh. These clowns couldn't tell the truth if it jumped up off the floor and hit them between the eyes. You have been victimized, Bubba!


-- Clinton lied about a personal affair, but no one died
-- Bush lied about Iraq and 1728 soldiers died
-- Thousands of our troops have been injured and maimed for life
-- Over 100,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed in Bush's war
-- Those citizens were not terrorists or insurgents
-- We support our troops. We don't support Bush's illegal war
-- Our troops were never meant to go to war over Bush's whims
-- Most of this administration are chicken hawks
-- They never served in the military once single day
-- They expect our troops to do what they were too chicken to do
-- Bush closed many, many, of our military bases last month
-- Why do the parents of our troops have to buy kevlar vests stateside to protect their sons and daughters who have been sent to Iraq? Why doesn't Bush make certain our troops are supplied correctly?
-- Why is Bush cutting Veteran benefits? Oh yes, he's supporting our troops, huh?
-- Why are so many convicted crooks from the Regan and Bush terms in the Bush administration?
-- Why did we have a surplus when Clinton left and deep debt after
4 1/2 years of the Bushites
-- Why did the republicans yell "wag the dog" everytime Clinton wanted to persue bin Laden and alqueda as terrorists?
-- Do you recall Clinton coming close to blowing bin Laden out of his tent in a desolate area of Afghanistan? Nah, I didn't think so. You are too busy watching republican propaganda to be educated
-- Do you recall Clinton's efforts at the millinium, nabbing a terrorist trying to transport explosives into the northwest? Nah, you were too busy listening to republican propaganda
-- and Bush illegally circumvented the Geneva Convention. He changes the rules to suit himself. Check it all out at a credible source, not the druggie Limbaugh
-- Bush is in Iraq for two reasons: Oil and to avenge his father's failure there
-- Iraqis hate our democracy? They can't even tell you what democracy is. Oh that's right, Bush told us they hate democracy!
-- 9/11? Why did Bush sit at a Fla. school reading a child's book looking bewildered as NY was being attacked? Why did he lie about seeing the first plane hit the World Trade building? At the time, there was no TV or videos on the first strike when he said that. Why did it take him so long to act? He sat there like he was in OZ. There is great suspicion he knew the attacks were going to happen.
-- Why did Bush ignore the memo from Condoleeza Rice entitled "bin Laden about to strike the US." Why?
-- UN countries violating the Food for Oil agreement? US companies were the worst offenders. When the reports were asked for by the senate on the subject, the Bushites stalled, then blacked out American companies on the report that they finally turned over. Oh how clever... they said they did it for security reasons, ha, ha. Whose security?!!!

You had better cancel a lot of things you'd like to do because it's going to take you 4 years to study up on the republican cronies and the dangerous path they have led us down. Not only that, if you are so gung-ho on Bush's war, why don't you sign up and go fight it? Why are there no republican official's children signed up? Oh yes, that's right, let someone elses children become fodder for Bush's insanity! When will you be signing up and how soon will you be leaving for the hell hole?

Isn't anyone the least bit unnerved by the lack of Democrat support for Kerry and the letter to Roberts? Ten of forty-five Dems in the Senate signed - but 35 chose not to sign. What's with that? Does the Dem Party deserve any credit or blame for this?

For me, I'll be calling the "ultra-liberal" Feingold and Herb Kohl on Monday to find out why each took a pass on history. Maybe readers would find time to do the same....

The comments above were in response to the whacko who wrote the original post about Cowardly Democrats. You can find the original whacko post in this thread.

To the writer of: 'That is "President Kerry"' - very well said, I hope you send a copy to Senator Kerry.

The writer of 'Cowardly Democrats' is obviously someone whose identity is closely tied to the right-wing fairy tale. It's almost sad to see someone so desperately in denial. He has to continually convince himself the whole world is wrong. Wonder if Reagan is spinning in his grave now that the Republicans have turned America into the "evil empire"?

You stated that Bush lied about having seen the first plane hit the World Trade Center prior to entering that school in Florida on the morning of September 11th.

Are you certain he lied? Are you certain there were no cameras trained on that tower providing a live closed-circuit feed to the President's limo?

He made that statement not once, but twice. I think we should take him at his word, and then let that thought roll around in your head for a bit to come to some comprehension of the implications of this fact.

Bush told you he saw the first plane hit the tower. He said it twice.
I take him and his guilty conscience at face value.

Rumsfeld's own guilty conscience caused him to confess that flight 93 was shot down over Pennsylvania.

The story of Iraq began prior to 9/11. 9/11 was the pretext for invading Iraq. The Crime of the Century is going to be fully uncovered, and the story will floor you.

That's the trouble with Bush. Too many people take him at face value and give the liar the benefit of the doubt. A closed circuit camera? Come on! The only film of the first plane was taken by a movie company in NY. No network or cable news had the film of the first plane. At the time Bush made his lying statement about seeing the first plane on TV, no one (not even him) had seen the film made by the movie company. I watched from the first breaking news. There was no video or film of the first plane until later. That came after Bush was seated in the school room listening to the kids read. Yet Bush claims he saw the first plane hit the WTB on TV. Anyone who takes a lying Bush at face value and gives him the benefit of the doubt at this point in the game is as pathetic as Bush.

Oh and by the way, videos of Bush reading along with the children on 9/11, showed that Bush had the book upside down. What a pathetic moron!

Well, anyway, the movie company's film is the first "recording" that you, personally, are aware of. Who knows where "Big Brother" conveniently has a camera???

Although it is not impossible that a live camera somewhere picked up the first plane crashing into the World Trade Building, it is highly doubtful. Most important, remember that our fighter jets were not deployed for quite some time and when they were, they were sent from bases too far away. If you recall, the FAA was questioned in hearings about the big delay and distant bases. So, that eliminates US fighter jets with live-feed cameras. That leaves us with a live-feed camera positioned on a tall NY building, that (just happened) to be trained on the World Trade Building. Odds of that would be 100 to 1. You are forgetting that Bush said (when I saw that first plane strike the building on TV...) He also claimed he saw it on a TV in the school hallway. The teacher denied there was a TV in the hallway. So it appears to me that the only way Bush could have seen the first plane strike, would have been through satellite imagery. But of course, the satellite would have had to be perfectly positioned too. And don't you think that Bush, with all of his puffery, would have said that he picked it up on satellite imagery piped into his limo? We know Bush would have been in his glory to sound on top of it all. Too many chips had to fall in place for special TV cameras to have captured the first strike for Bush.

All of the odds are against Bush seeing the first strike. The man is a compulsive liar. The only way I would conceed to Bush's version would be if a camera man came forward and spilled the beans that he was contracted by Bush to televise the World Trade Buildings that morning and feed it through to him. And what would that say?

It has long been a joke among the talking heads on cable news that the Republicans are the Daddy Party and the Democrats are the Mommy Party. What I cannot help but wonder, is when Americans are going to grow the hell up and individuate from their parents.

David Ray Griffin, a scholar, theologian and professor, at Claremont Seminary has written two exceptional books on the subject of 9/11. After carefully reading both of his books, plus studying time-lines for the past two years and reading the 9/11 commission report, cover to cover, there is no doubt in my mind that there are people at the highest levels of our government who are complicit in the events of that day and the Anthrax attacks which ensued, within a month.

The most ludicrous cospiracy theroy of all, is the official story, itself.

What's more, everything that has happened since then has only served to convince me further.

We, the people, must demand the truth about all of it; from 9/11 to the Iraq war and the war crimes that have been committed in our names. The hellish nightmare, we find ourselves in, began on that smoldering pile of rubble in Lower Manhattan and it continues to this day. It must, finally, end where it began.

I believe that the truth will, indeed set us free, but it must be the whole truth and that means the truth about 9/11, no matter how terrifying and unsafe it makes us feel. How can we all be such whimps, when the families of the victims know what happened. They are living with it. It is time to tell our elected officials that we can handle the truth, no matter what it is, because the lies are going to destroy us.

If Karl Rove, Cheney and Bush want to start milking 9/11 again, by trying to connect it to Iraq and to use it to besmirch Liberals, or anyone else for that matter, then I say lets talk about 9/11, and lets not stop talking about it until the people responsible for this horror are all behind bars.

I do agree with your comments. The 9/11 attack and the anthrax were orchestrated by the U.S. govt. I do blame Clinton, he has a part to play. Both parties are corrupted. It is the people must join together and hold them responsible. It is our tax dollars that has been spent. At one point, I thought Kerry was planted by the 'Skull and Bone' friend, Bush in order to win the election. The debate was a farce. Although, Bush attacked Kerry, their behavior after the debate proved that Kerry was in fact, protecting the seat for Bush. I wish Dean was the candidate. They got rid of him since he was going to win. Kerry had in fact won the election but Bush cleverly stole it and Kerry cared less. They had an agenda to war with iraq for oil and of course, to protect israeli interest.

You said, "I do agree with your comments. The 9/11 attack and the anthrax were orchestrated by the U.S. govt. I do blame Clinton, he has a part to play."

I am confused by that remark. The republicans tried to implicate Bill Clinton after 9/11 and I can remember every cable station carrying their message through pundits. Over a period of time, I realized that the republicans refuse to take responsibility in anything and one of their biggest ploys is to lay blame on everyone else but themselves. After I realized their strategies, I put their propaganda to a little test that debunks what they claim:

**Who was in charge of this country on 9/11?
**Who ignored the memo from Condoleeza Rice,entitled
"bin Ladin about to strike the US."?
**Who ignored their own CIA and FBI agents?
**Who ignored tips from other nations?

On the other hand, who conferenced with Bush/Rice on the days before he left office? Bill Clinton. HE counceled Bush and Rice to be on top of bin Ladin and Al Queada, explaining the damage they could do to this country. Richard Clarke testified that Clinton was leary of bin Ladin and wanted intelligence on him all the time. Clinton ordered the assassination of bin Ladin and nearly got him. You may recall that when Clinton left office, Bush and the republicans tried every degrading trick they could against Clinton. How about the condition of the White House trick that was disproved? How about accusations that Clinton took all the furniture, etc. that was disproved? How about Clinton's pardons when Bush's own father pardoned a record amount of individuals. Yes, republicans blamed Clinton for everything, but the sinking of the Titanic!

So, whenever I hear republicans trying to pass the [blame-buck] to Clinton or democrats, I ask myself this question: Just who was in charge of the country when something negative happened? And you know what? The answer always comes back... Bush!

Having gone to an Ivy (that would be an Ivy League university) I can say with some authority that all of you who ignore Skull & Bones ignore it at your own peril -- John Kerry, Bush Sr. and Jr. (George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush) and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post are all Skull & Boners :)

There is an elite in this country and Hillary and Bill are attempting to become part of it. So screw both parties, because they sure are screwing you, this recent Supreme Court decision on eminent domain, passed by the Democrats on the Court, is a perfect example.

It's time for Americans to stop identifying by party, because what we have is a uni-party, and start thinking for ourselves -- before we attack Iran-- as Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are advocating, for Israel, because we will only see our very beloved children die before are eyes, and both parties will be to blame.

and he has been for 30 years. Starting with his protesting of the Vietnam war, his testimony to the Fulbright Commission and onward. He was on Nixon's worst enemy list and subsequently every Republican President's worst enemy list since, including Bush Sr, and Jr.

If you think Bush would let Kerry in the door of S&B meeting you've had too much KoolAid.

If want to see some changes made in this country, I would suggest you get over the conspiracy theory bunk and put your energy into the work that needs to be done.

Kerry stepped up to the plate with his letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is more than others in the Senate did.

Kerry seems sincere, honest, forthcoming, and hard as nails. He has had much mud tossed at him during the past election. In spite of this, he barely lost and may very well have won (vote spinning). With the way the world is today (8/22), I think he may win. With Hillary, we will have to start all over. These fence sitting conservatives will be fed new Republican lies again and believe all over again.

Having gone to an Ivy (that would be an Ivy League university) I can say with some authority that all of you who ignore Skull & Bones ignore it at your own peril -- John Kerry, Bush Sr. and Jr. (George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush) and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post are all Skull & Boners :)

There is an elite in this country and Hillary and Bill are attempting to become part of it. So screw both parties, because they sure are screwing you, this recent Supreme Court decision on eminent domain, passed by the Democrats on the Court, is a perfect example.

It's time for Americans to stop identifying by party, because what we have is a uni-party and start thinking for ourselves.

Bill and Hillary ARE part of it already. Bill Clinton went on Larry King and defended Bush, claiming he didn't lie about Iraq. Too bad Clinton wasn't impeached for something relevant. He's been lying about Iraq for a very long time; he knew, they ALL knew that Saddam's stocks were destroyed in 1991 via Hussein Camel. They NEEDED Iraq as what it supposedly was. There's a REASON Bush 41 and Clinton are best buddies these days, and people better wake the hell up about it.

We'll see who the dems nominate. If they nominate anyone who voted for the Iraq war, that ought to speak for itself, especially after the Kerry debacle.

There's a war going on within the democratic party; the Clintonistas loath Howard Dean. If the faction can prevail in the nomination process, there's a chance it can be taken back. But I'm not optimistic; Remember Robert Kennedy. These people will myrder anyone who threatens their imposition of their so-called "New World Order".

Hillary Clinton will be certain political suicide for the Democratic party, just like John Kerry was, for the same reasons; she voted for everything we oppose; the "Patriot Act", the Iraq War etc, and she's totally divisive. Progressives and fed-up REAL conservatives in this country, need to learn to play hard ball and be willing to just stay home if they're presented another Hobsen's choice. That'd mean that the millions of new Democratic Party members brought in by Dean, need to be ready to LEAVE the party. Sometimes it comes down to a sad choice between defeat with honor, and defeat with dishonor. I've seen enough; I predicted the outcome with Kerry, and I'm predicting it here with Hillary.

IF the dems ran Al Gore again, I'd take it as a sign that we had a chance to take the country back; Just remember who Gore courageously stabbed in the back in 2004.

May I respectfully suggest that, for right now, the removal of Bush and his administration is our top priority? Whatever difficulies a President Hillary Clinton or President John Kerry would put us through is needless speculation. I'll take either one right now over who we have today, without hesitation.

As an avid Dean supporter I agree with you. But it's "Hobbesian choice", not "Hobsen's choice." Named for political philosopher Thomas Hobbes.

We need to leave all those half baked conspiracy thoughts under the bed and concentrate on the facts and things that can make a difference.

There has been one wild story after another claiming that the 9/11 attacks were staged by our own government, but not one real piece of evidence to that fact. One can paint any picture that they wish, but does it sell is the ultimate question. I submit to you that the far out conspiracy claims only serve to make the process of bringing those who are guilty of betraying our country through a wrongful war much harder. Stupid conspiracy claims of the unthinkable only serve to inflame much of the country against any attempt to nail the real truth down.

We must have a unified front and use the facts and not wild unsupported claims. The more those wild cliams are mentioned the more it muddys the water. Keep that crap out and use facts.

The insertion of the wild conspiracy claims here, makes me wonder if there are perhaps some among us who has a goal of derailing any real effort to change this country's direction.

Get off of it folks and get onto the facts and what is known. God knows there is pleanty of it if we have the guts and enough to join together to use it.

An interested reader with a different perspective.

... that we should keep out the crap, and use the facts.

By using facts (instead of remaining in "constant denial"), we come to the reasonable conclusion that a caveman in Afghanistan could not possibly have shut down the Pentagon's Air Defence System, such that some form of flying object could bury itself deep into the hardened wall.

By using facts we can come to the reasonable conclusion that a caveman in Afghanistan could not possibly have had the necessary 'clout' to arrange 4 war game drills on the morning of 9/11, such as to arrange an 'effective stand down' of NORAD on that morning.

By using facts we can know that, in July 2001, responsibility for the defence of the US was taken out the Bush's hands, and passed over to Runsfeld (who is now, therefore, your "Commander-in-Chief).

I agree that we should stick to these facts, and not believe in the wild, and patently absurd, conspiracy theories promulgated by the 9/11 Omission. (Did I say 'Omission' … shurely shome mistak?)

I absolutely agree that, by sticking to facts, the perpetrators of 9/11 should be brought to justice (including their henchmen in my own country).

So many people whine to me about how poor Bill and Hillary were so "abused" by the very people they're hanging with these days. Don't these people have ANY idea about NAFTA, the so-called "Welfare Reform Act of 1996," etc.? I held my nose and voted for Clinton TWICE and was betrayed by him and his wife. They are no more "democrats" than my daughter's iguana Elvis is. Where are the true Democrats in the mold of FDR, Truman, JFK and even Johnson ... if it hadn't been for the war Johnson achieved some really great social policies (i.e., Head Start, War on Poverty, Voting Rights Act). People laughed at Jimmy Carter's wish to achieve energy independence in the '70s. How right he was ... and still is!

Clinton told David Letterman that he had never heard of the Downing Street memo, and Letterman didn't laugh in his face or even press him about it. He must be up to something, and if it starts out with another lie I think we should all worry about exactly what he has in mind. If he thinks he can get Hillary elected by both of them becoming Jr. Grade Republicans he has another think coming. And how about the way he has been hanging out with the Bush family!

I agree!

You are quite correct in your message. I'm definitely going Independent and even then, research the candidate as much as possible.

Thanks to John Kerry re: letter about the Downing Street Memos. I hope more people sign the impeachment petition launched by, and written by Ramsey Clark. Join the more than half million citizens who have already signed. Let's remove the Bush administration.

James de Crescentis
poet & painter

Maybe it is just wishful thinking, on my part, but I hope to God that what we are seeing is the old John Kerry, the prosecutor and young senator who brought down BCCI, with his careful, calculating, investigator's mind, about to do what he does best, bring down criminals.

In today's plastic/fantastic world, Kerry will never make a good candidate, because there are apparently too many Americans who want a president they can have a beer with, or kick tires with or spit with or whatever.

Call me a wild-eyed liberal, but I would rather have a man or woman with a brain, running the country; not swilling beer, kicking clods or getting into pissing contests with our allies around the world, while cozying up to dictators worse than Saddam, like Karimov.

But there in one thing that John Kerry does very well, and that is investigate. Give the man a piece of hard evidence and he is like a bull-dog with a bone, albeit, a polite bulldog.

Does anyone know the status of signitures, etc. ? The site seems
a little sketchy. Do we really stand a chance ? I mean when people bring up things this administration doesn't like or is found in err, they just act like there's -0- going on and ignore us.
How many more signitures are needed ? 1/2 million seems strong to me.


Salon's War Room had some coverage of this over the weekend -

Benito Mussolini defined Fascism as, "the marriage of corporate power and the state." He should know. He invented Fascism

Ted Kennedy said that the Republicans get 95% of their money from the corporations and the Democrats get 75% from the same source. That means that we are only 25% away from Georgi Dimitroff's definition of Fascism--"The open terroristic rule of the most reactionary and chauvinistic sections of finance capital."

I want nothing less than prison for bush and his administration. The evidence is overwhelming and growing, the facts of the matter are clear, the lies all very transparent. They are guilty of war crimes, murder, racketeering, traeson, and just plain lunacy. Let's not waste time, the damage gets more compund each day bush is in office. Don't forget , he's been proven to not be the legitimate president anyway.
Michael Mayer

Bush too arrogant to showcase his own country of democracy. Yes exposing the Bush Administration activities via the concerns of the poor, aged, uninsured, homeless, unemployed, verses the powerful, controlling, wealthy, and greedy might not be a true image of what democracy is all about in the world.

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